As humans, we were all born to network. It’s the natural domain of social beasts who seek to grow and prosper from the relationships they have created. Herd, flock and pod animals of all descriptions constantly network to shore up their position in their groups and benefit from the advantages afforded to their status. Cats schmooze, chimps preen, horses groom, dogs snuggle and humans network. It’s as natural as night and day and an integral element of being part of the whole.
Networking reassures, humbles, educates, broadens and challenges us. It can take us on journeys we never thought possible because of the people we never expected to meet. It opens doors, closes some, enables us to learn about ourselves and others and, if done patiently, lays the foundations for relationships we never considered with people we may have believed beyond our interests.
You can never predict when any of these events will happen. However, it is possible to take the innate skills of networking we all naturally possess to a higher level by being prepared to put them into practice, make a few mistakes and grow from the outcome. The more frequently we do this, the better we become and the more likely we are to meet and impress that special person who is then willing to introduce us to that other special person that might just change our lives.
Next time you’re on LinkedIn, select someone you’d like to meet. Now work backwards to yourself and see how many degrees of separation there are. You may surprise yourself with who the people you know know. Okay, that done? Now look at the links in the chain between you and the person you want to meet. It’s achievable, right? But the only way to get there is to network. The only way to shake that person’s hand is to follow the yellow brick road. Longshot? Well, maybe the odds have just been reduced.
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